On February 5, 2013, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie addressed the media and complained that the Federal Flood Insurance Program has been extremely slow to address claims brought in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. According to Gov. Christie, 70% of cases remain unresolved, even three months after the disaster struck. During the press conference, he complained that “I’ve been as patient as I’m going to be with the National Flood Insurance Program,” blaming bureaucracy, poor staffing, and the threat of penalties to adjusters and insurers for the program’s sluggish response to victim’s claims.
Gov. Christie also criticized the program because only 30% of flood claims have been settled, in contrast to an 80% rate for other types of insurance claims filed by residents and businesses in New Jersey. When examining the overall percentage of Sandy-related claims that have been settled, the Governor noted that, “the numbers get smaller when I put the flood insurance in” to these figures. Gov. Christie also announced that he would ask New Jersey’s congressional representatives to urge FEMA to improve the performance of the flood insurance program, stating that “it is imperative that insurance claims be brought to final resolution so that residents can make critical decisions on if and how to rebuild.”
During the press conference, Gov. Christie also revealed that the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance is starting to require that private insurers respond to Sandy-related complaints within five days. Insurance companies currently have 15 business days to respond to complaints filed with the department. To date, the department has received approximately 2,434 calls from consumers related to Sandy, half of which were calls for assistance.
Click here to see the clip from Governor Christie’s February 5, 2013 press conference.